Kings to improve the most
Sacramento Kings are the team that can conceivably improve the most with the fifth pick in the draft and become a playoff contender in the West as soon as next season.
The reason being that DeMarcus Cousins is a franchise type big man who is just an absolute beast. Put any character concerns to the side for a second and look at his game, 18.1 points per game, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game at the extremely young age of 21-years-old. With his potential to be a monster in the paint, there is not reason that a top-5 pick in this years’ loaded draft class won’t boost them out of being a total disaster.
Tyreke Evans gives them another solid player although he hasn’t made the star strides some expected as of yet. The 6-6 combo guard averaged 16.5 points per game, 4.5 rebounds per game, and 4.6 assists per game last season. If they decided to keep Evans in town then this pick could give them a big -3 of the future. Add in another big man or a prototypical small forward and the Kings are onto something in Sac-town.
Here are the players that the Kings are choosing from with the fifth pick in the draft:
Harrison Barnes and Michael Kidd Gilchrist. Odds are that the Wizards or the Cavs will select one of these guys with the No. 3 and No. 4 picks and the Kings may have to take whichever one falls to them. Either player would be huge for the Kings. Barnes will give them a better offensive player who is deadly from about anywhere and isn’t a selfish player while Gilchrist will give them the lock-down defender needed to put the clamps on the big guns. Kings can’t lose with either of these two and I will be very surprised if the fifth pick doesn’t come down to a future star small forward.
Both Barnes and Kidd-Gilchrist are NBA ready which is why they are a much better option for the Kings than taking a player like Andre Drummond, who they might have to wait a few years to develop. While Cousins and Drummond would be an absolute brutal force with their physical gifts in the paint, the Kings don’t have that kind of time.
Kings also really need a point guard with Jimmer Fredette not looking like the ball-handler of the future. He appears to me at best some instant offense off the bench and not a guy who can keep up athletically with NBA guards. Selecting Damian Lillard with the fifth pick would give them a very good scoring guard, but that might not be good for Cousins. Either way I believe that Evans will take a third scorer type role and have the ball in his hands much less this upcoming season. Lillard would give them somebody who can get buckets from the outside, but the Kings need someone who will force-feed Cousins in the paint.
I’ve heard the rumors that the Kings want to trade Evans, which could be the case if shooting guard Brad Beal slips to the fifth pick or they decide to reach for a player like Jeremy Lamb, Austin Rivers, or Dion Waiters. I don’t think there is any need to do this as Evans is slowly developing into a team player and I doubt the rumblings about him being shipped off have any validity.
Thomas Robinson would be the best possible pick for Sacramento and would give them a bruising power forward who is great on the boards to put next to Cousins. There would be few front courts in the NBA ready to get physical with those two on a nightly basis. Unfortunately, I highly doubt Robinson gets past the Bobcats with pick No.2, but if he does then lookout for him to slip all the way to No. 5.
At the end of the day tomorrow, the Kings are going to be the team who has improved the most. I know it seems like that every year, but with Cousins becoming a dominant beast last season, there is little doubt that the team is going to improve with another top-5 pick especially in a talent pool as deep as this years’. My guess for the pick is Harrison Barnes out of North Carolina which would be a huge boost at the small forward spot.